Linklaters agrees to Euro-giant

Linklaters' partnership has voted “yes” to its merger with four of the firms in the Alliance of European Lawyers – to create the largest federation of lawyers in the BAD Sources say a new French firm will be brought into the alliance to replace Jeantet – likely to be respected Paris practice Rambaud Martel.

And Linklaters has been talking to firms in Italy. Rome's Chiomenti Studio Legale has worked closely with Linklaters but reports from Italy suggest that the firm wishes to remain independent. Rome-based Ughi e Nunziante is a likely alternative.

Linklaters & Alliance will consist of Linklaters and German firm Oppenhoff & RAdler, Dutch firm De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, Belgian firm De Bandt van Hecke & Lagae and Swedish firm Lagerlof & Leman.

The merged firm will be run by a nine-member board, chaired by Linklaters senior partner Charles Allen-Jones and Michael Oppenhoff, senior partner of German firm Oppenhoff & RAdler. Kyle will act as chief executive. The rest of the board will be made up of partners from all the firms. Supervising will be a 15-member committee selected on a proportionate basis from the five firms.

Linklaters' management committee had recommended the deal to the partnership in Thursday's vote but a source at the firm said partners had backed the deal for some time.

The firms will initially not fully merge, but are likely to contribute a proportion of profits to a joint pool. Details are set out in a 30-page document, but the most tax efficient manner in which to set up the centralised holding company has yet to be finalised.